Thanks so much for this thread - my DD is 11 weeks old and I'm only now starting to realize how disappointed I am about our hospital birth. Up until now, I've just been saying "I'm so grateful for my healthy baby," and I am... and I still am grateful that I took all the precautions necessary to have a relatively low-intervention birth in the hospital when I did transfer. But... but... when I think of what I wanted it to be, and then what it was, I am just so... angry and disappointed.
My good friend came over yesterday, with her newborn who was born at home with our MW last week, and I was so envious that she got to have such a peaceful and easy birth while mine was such a struggle.
I've wanted a homebirth for fifteen years, ever since I read Ina May Gaskin as a teenager, and I was so sure that I could do it. Young, strong, in excellent shape, totally prepared, not scared for a minute... what could go wrong? I never had any doubts.
But it did go wrong - I was in labor for 52 hours, and by the time we transferred I'd been in transition for over 10 hours. I just couldn't do it anymore, and I needed pain relief to rest. I never expected labor to be so painful - the MW thinks that it was due to a very narrow pelvic arch and perhaps also a nuchal hand for a while. Nobody knows exactly why I was in so much pain, though - the back spasms were so bad I was practically fainting during contractions. I feel so foolish, because I was fully prepared for a pain-free labor. It was pain-free, really, for the first day and a half!!! It only got really bad after 30 hours or so. [*wry laugh*]
So, I think I'm mostly envious of people who get to have their babies in a "normal" space of time - the ones who go into labor in the morning and have their babies before the day is over. Not three days later! If my labor were shorter, I would never have had to transfer; I could have handled the pain for that long. It was purely exhaustion that sent me in there, and I never imagined that I would have had to transfer for what was (in my mind) a "weak" reason. Now obviously I don't think that women who transfer for exhaustion are weak - I don't feel weak for having chosen it, it took a whole lot of courage to go into that hospital, it was the scariest thing about my labor. But I thought my body would have been strong enough to see my whole labor through, without pharmaceutical intervention.
As it was, the epidural helped me to sleep for a few hours, which gave me the strength to get through four hours of pushing. And I'm genuinely grateful that the epidural option was there, because I was completely exhausted. If I'd lost my strength trying to get the baby out without that help, I or the baby could have ended up in some serious danger. Or maybe we would have been ok. Maybe I could have found the strength, maybe I could have rested. Maybe if my MW hadn't been so tired, and her backup hadn't been so aggressive, I wouldn't have felt so frightened as the hours wore on into the second long night. Maybe if my mother hadn't been standing in the door crying in fear because I was screaming.
Maybe... maybe... but this is silly talk, I had a relatively normal birth with relatively few interventions and I was home in less than 2 days and completely healed within 2 weeks.
You see? I just keep going back and forth with my "maybe it could have been different" and "I'm grateful that it happened the way it did." And of course, the worst of it is, everyone in my life who doubted HB are now convinced that "see? it doesn't work." Especially DH, who was terrified and never wants to try that again. Every time he says something like that, I burst into tears - I don't know if he will ever agree to a HB again. I had to fight him so long to get this one, and I failed after all.